Fouling in your own nest: vessel noise increases biofouling

TitleFouling in your own nest: vessel noise increases biofouling
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsStanley, Jenni A., Wilkens Serena L., and Jeffs Andrew G.
ISBN Number0892-7014
EndNote Rec Number11007

Globally billions of dollars are spent each year on attempting to reduce marine biofouling on commercial vessels, largely because it results in higher fuel costs due to increased hydrodynamic drag. Biofouling has been long assumed to be primarily due to the availability of vacant space on the surface of the hull. Here, it is shown that the addition of the noise emitted through a vessel?s hull in port increases the settlement and growth of biofouling organisms within four weeks of clean surfaces being placed in the sea. More than twice as many bryozoans, oysters, calcareous tube worms and barnacles settled and established on surfaces with vessel noise compared to those without. Likewise, individuals from three species grew significantly larger in size in the presence of vessel noise. The results demonstrate that vessel noise in port is promoting biofouling on hulls and that underwater sound plays a much wider ecological role in the marine environment than was previously considered possible.